Thursday, September 17, 2009
Average Square Footage of Homes is Shrinking in the U.S.
7:52 pm cdt
Money Magazine strikes again! A cute little farmhouse out in Barrington was featured in their article
"Living Large in a Smaller-Size Home." The article is about how the average square footage of homes has shrunk in
2009 to 2,240 square feet, after thirty years of increases and that there are deals to be had in the homes that are less than
2,000 square feet.
Take this 3 bedroom/2 bath home in Barrington. It is in a neighborhood where homes just a bit larger are selling for around $760,000 (nearly double the price of this
$478,000 home). It features a completely redone cook's kitchen, 2nd floor master suite with
walk-in closet, zoned HVAC and all new mechanicals. (For more information on this see MLS listing
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Things You Should Know About FHA Loans
9:19 am cdt
The October issue of Money Magazine has a number of fantastic real estate and investing articles.
I know I refer to that magazine a lot in my blogs, but for the little money that I spend on a yearly subscription, I really
think it's fantastic.
This issue spurred me to talk again about FHA loans. They had a great
article about things you should know about FHA loans. There's lots of people using FHA loans now that lenders have tightened
their lending restrictions for those who want to put less than 10 or 20 percent down on a home. FHA is virtually the only
loan product that will allow you to put as little as 3.5% down on a home, enabling a whole new group of first time buyers
to get into their first home.
A survey by Zillow.com reveals that about a third of buyers
have 10% of less saved for a down payment. As a result, FHA loans went from 3% to 25% of the lending market.
Historically FHA loans only went to low-income buyers. There's no cap on earnings to qualify. Virtually any
income can qualify for an FHA loan. Borrowing limits may be higher than you think too. Recently FHA increased their borrowing
limits, and though the max in cheaper real estate areas is only $271,050, people who live in higher priced markets can qualify
for much more than that.
Keep in mind, though, FHA loans can carry some serious upfront
costs. There is an upfront 1.75% cost as well as a .5% annual insurance premium for five years and until the principal balance
is 78% of the sales price or the home's appraised value. According to FHA rules, Sellers can pay up to 6% of the closing costs
for a buyer, so ask them to help pick up some of the costs.
FHA loans do take a bit longer
to close. FHA loans require a bit more documentation than a conventional loan, and may require other inspections, but thanks
to a new automatic underwriting system and looser repair requirements, it's not that much longer.
more information on the FHA loans and the process, see the gov's website here.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Shutdown of Lender Leaves Customers Confused
11:47 am cdt
As I blogged early last month, the 12th largest home loan lender in the U.S., Taylor, Bean &
Whitaker Mortgage Corporation, was shutdown by numerous federal agencies. Now, homeowners are confused about where this shutdown
leaves them, and their loan.
In Illinois, about 25,000 homeowners have been affected by
the shutdown and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says that they are working on helping consumers
figure out what to do. Some consumers have no idea who is servicing their loan, and Taylor, Bean hasn't taken any auto payments
since the beginning of August. Some consumers are getting multiple letters from different servicers who are claiming to be
the servicer on their loan. Still about 1,783 loans in Illinois are still help by Taylor, Bean under different corporate entities.
There are also worries that because of the bankruptcy filing, the homeowner's insurance
and property taxes being held by the company in escrow are not being paid.
For more information
on this, click here to see the original Chicago Tribune Article.
You can also call the State's help line
at 877.793.3470 or their website at www.idfpr.com, or check out the company's website at www.taylorbean.com.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Real Estate Market Conditions Help Make Chicago the Most Stressful City
9:41 am cdt
Forbes Magazine has once again released their 2009 list of the Most Stressful Cities, and Chicago
is number one for the second time in a row. Why, you ask? According to the magazine, crowding, poor air quality, an 11 percent
unemployment rate, horrible traffic and "free-falling" home values have created a "cocktail of constant worry."
Next on the list were Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland and Providence, Rhode Island.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Short Sale Warning for Realtors, Sellers and their Attorneys
11:49 am cdt
In the July, 2009 Illinois REALTOR® Magazine there was an article outlining a fact situation
where an “investor” was seeking to purchase the property that would be a short sale subject to lender approval
under an option contract and the investor/intermediary was then seeking another buyer to close immediately after the intermediary
exercised the option and closed on deal #1 (after lender approval).
The Seller then assumes
that the lender has the property “off the books” and they are out of trouble. Well, that may not necessarily be
the case. The original distressed Seller is now receiving a "bill" for the unpaid amount of his note that he thought
While these scenarios may release the mortgage or security interest in the
loan, they are not necessarily releasing the note obligation to pay the loan in full. The short sale seller should receive
something from the bank stating that the obligation is "paid in full" or that the obligation has otherwise been
forgiven by the lender.
Be wary of situations where there is an “investor”
or “intermediary” in the middle. It is very important for these clients to seek legal advice in these situations.